Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble

Percussionist Kahil El’Zabar is a very exciting and excitable performer. His enthusiasm is infectious whether he plays trap drums or works percussion instruments with his hands. He often chants or growls as he lays down the beats. On February 27 he visited Kerrytown Concert House with his Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, which included Corey Wilkes on trumpet and Alex Harding on baritone sax. The trio was at the end of a month-long national tour and was really tight.

Wilkes’ trumpet was very colorful and authoritative and blended nicely with Harding’s bari. The trio’s repertoire varied from bebop classics (Stitt’s “Eternal Triangle”) to Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower” and a piece honoring Pharoah Sanders. Even though the inclinations of all three musicians were in the avant garde direction, there was always a steady beat underlying all tunes.

A great program for Black History Month!